Zwartbles Sheep

The Zwartbles sheep is a critically rare breed of domestic sheep originating in the Friesland region of the north Netherlands.

It was traditionally used for both meat and milk production in it’s native area. And these animals declined significantly in use until listed as critically rare by the Dutch Rare Breed Survival Trust in the mid 1970s.

The Zwartbles sheep were often raised alongside dairy cattle herds in Netherlands. The Zwartbles were first imported to the United Kingdom in the early 1990s, and the UK Zwartbles Sheep Association was formed in 1995.

These animals have easily adapted themselves to the climate of United Kingdom and they can thrive at various altitudes. Their popularity is increasing with both small holders and commercial farmers.

The Zwartbles rams are also crossed with ewes of other sheep breeds in the United Kingdom for producing butchers lambs. Lambs from these crosses are always black but sometimes will have a little white on the head.

Both rams and ewes usually cross well with other breeds. However, read some more information about this breed below.

Zwartbles Sheep Origin Characteristics

Zwartbles sheep are relatively a larger sized animal with striking appearance. They have a black or brown fleece and a white blaze on the face.

They have 2-4 white socks, a white tail tip which is traditionally left undocked. They have no horns, and both rams and ewes are polled.

They have dense fleece, which ranges from black to brown with sun bleached tips and some silvering may be present in the older animals.

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Wool of the Zwartbles sheep is medium to fine with excellent crimp.

As a large sized breed, average live body weight of the mature Zwartbles rams is around 100 kg. And the mature ewes weight around 85 kg. Photo and info from Wikipedia.


The Zwartbles sheep are used for milk as well as for lamb and mutton.

Special Notes

The Zwartbles sheep are very hardy and strong animals. They are well known and noted for being docile, milky, friendly, easy lambing and also for being excellent mothers.

They are well adapted to the cold wet harsh winters of North Friesland in their native country Netherlands. They are very easily handled animal and they love attention.

They produce very lean and sweet meat, and they have a very good ration of live body weight to meat. Review full breed profile of this breed in the chart below.

Breed NameZwartbles
Other NameNone
Breed PurposeMeat, milk
Special NotesVery hardy and strong, well known and noted for being docile, milky, friendly, easy lambing, ewes are excellent mothers, easily handled, love attention, very lean and sweet meat
Breed SizeLarge
WeightAround 85 to 100 kg
Climate ToleranceNative climates
ColorBlack or brown
Country/Place of OriginNetherlands

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